The Slates

A distopian Futuristic novel about a world where overpopulation and pollution are critical and the government rule all. Can a small group of Slates, young boys and girls undergoing rigorous state education, discover the true agenda? My first novel of magnitude so be kind :)

N.B. this is a first draft and once the story is complete I am going to revise, edit and complete the book so please ignore any pesky typos, awkward English or minor plot holes. thanks :)

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2. Test Two

I hesitated for a moment, remembering the blistering light that had greeted me the last two times I’d opened my eyes, but then obeyed the command. The walls were still bright white, yet no longer hurt my eyes. I looked down at the clothing I’d earlier put on. It was all a light grey and the bed I was sitting on the same blank white as the walls. Next I looked for the source of the voice I’d heard. Looking closer, I saw a faint black outline on the wall opposite me. ‘Push’, the same voice directed me, seeming to come from nowhere. I slipped off the bed, landing on my two feet. Though I’d not yet moved with only my legs I knew it was the most efficient way to do so. I slowly moved forward, trying my hardest not to fall over. Eventually I reached the wall and slowed even further for I vividly remembered the burning sensation I’d felt upon previously touching the walls. I extended my hands forward but couldn’t feel any heat coming from the walls. I reasoned that if the light had been turned off then the heat had been also. Progressing, I found this to be true and for the first time laid both my hands on the wall. I remembered the instruction I’d received and pushed hard on the wall. The panel surrounded by the outline slowly swivelled as I applied more and more pressure and though it was hurting the burn marks on my palms, I kept pushing. Finally a gap large enough for me to fit though presented itself and I slid into a new world.

    At first I saw only more white blank walls, about the same size as my first room. But then into my vision came a being, with the same basic shape as me, though I observed that it was smaller, and had a different shaped chest to the mine: a female. Her mouth moved and in unison noise filled my head. ‘Welcome. Please don’t be alarmed. Slight confusion is natural in the period after becoming. While you listen to me, please take a moment to remind yourself of speech, as I will ask you some questions later. What you just completed was test one. This is designed to measure your problem solving skills and basic intelligence. I will explain more later. You are a Slate. All humans starts life as Slates. You are given an education and introduction to how the world works and then grow up to become a Work. I am a Work. My job is to make sure you smoothly transition from your becoming, which you experienced a few days ago, into the Slate education that will allow you to become a Work. I understand you might have questions but if you’d please follow me, I’ll show you to your next room.’

    Indeed I did have questions but she’d said to ask no questions, so I didn’t. I watched her turn around and walk to the far wall, exiting through another panel in the wall. I followed. I was greeted with a third room, again with plain white walls, of a similar size. In the middle of this room was not a bed nor a human, but a table with a chair on either side. On the wall to my right was a mirror. I walked over to it. I was greeted by a third person. I knew it was me, that’s how mirrors work, yet the rest of me rebelled. My face was pale, eyes wide, hair short. I lifted my hand and saw the figure imitate it. It really was me. I turned to the woman who I’d followed in. She was sat in the chair opposite the door we’d entered into. ‘Sit’ she said, moving nothing but her face, which quickly returned to the blank expression she’d worn since I first met her. I walked over to the vacant chair and gently lowered myself into it, letting the legs channel my weigh to the floor. ‘This is test two. I will now check all the basic functions like arithmetic, language, perception of emotion, etc. that you have instilled in you during your becoming. This is very important, as all these skill are vital for you to be permitted into the Slate Education with others like you. Now please say “Hello. I am sitting on a chair.”’ For a moment I sat and looked at her. I’d observed the movements of her mouth as she’d been speaking and tried them with mine. After another moment, during which I thought of the words she’d asked me to say, I slowly repeated them. ‘Now choose five words to describe what you are feeling.’ Again I paused and though for a moment. I looked around the room, my gazes pausing on the mirror and then returning to her.

    ‘Confused. I feel dazed. Overwhelmed. Unsure.’ I stopped at four and looked round once more. She remained silence, waiting for my fifth word. I looked at the mirror and back to her, straight in the eye. ‘Watched’. I didn’t know why I felt it, nor how I knew it; but I did. I saw a flicker of emotion in her eye but quickly the dull look returned.

    ‘Give me the multiplication rows from one to twelve.’ The numbers quickly filled my mind and almost without thought I started listing numbers. I barely knew what I was saying, yet she never stopped me so I continued. When I said my one hundred and forty-fourth number, one hundred and forty four, I stopped. I felt a warm glow, a nice glow, in my stomach. This feeling made me smile. I knew I’d got it all correct.

    ‘This is the hardest and most important part of the test. Perception of emotion is testing your ability to gauge what others are feeling. I will show you a video of a person saying a sentence. You will tell me what they are feeling.’ I felt confused at how I’d do that, but remembered how the numbers had come to me, and hoped the answers to these questions would also. She turned her head to the wall on my left. Suddenly it flickered to life and on it appeared a image of a person. Male, same age as her. He started in a neutral position and then suddenly crossed his arms and lowered his head. Then he repeated the words I’d previously said but loudly, attacking all the emphasized syllables.

    ‘Hello. I am sitting on a chair,’ he shouted. This confused me: he wasn’t sitting on a chair, and this statement in no way told me of his emotions. I looked back to him but the wall was once more blank, he was gone. I looked back to the woman, who was looking at me.

    ‘He was irritated. Angry. Unhappy.’ I realised that the emotion wasn’t in the words but the body and the tone, both of which felt to me like something bad had happened to him. The woman turned to the wall once more; which in turn burst to life again. This time a woman, who said the same sentence, but this time slowly and quietly. Her shoulders and face both seemed to droop slightly down. She looked sad, miserable, melancholy. I told this to the woman. We repeated this exercise two more times.

    ‘You have complete test two. You must be tired. You will enter the room behind me, but I will not. There is a bed. You can sleep on it. I will stay here.’

 
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